Tag Archives: England

The Crimson Brigade| Blood Battalion

crimson brigade
There are few things I find more satisfying than receiving a download that isn’t encrypted directly from a band that’s just beginning to get their feet wet in the murky sea of black metal.  Except for maybe when the album is quite listenable.  The Crimson Brigade have the kind of sound that one automatically thinks of when someone mentions black metal.  Their debut, “Blood Battalion” is remiscent of early Dimmu Borgir, before they got all soft and weird like a drunken weiner, with the release of “Death Cult Armageddon”.  Maim me with your words for that statement if you please but you must admit that many of the tracks on “Death Cult Armageddon” sound like they were stolen directly from the soundtrack of a Disney movie.  I’m not talking about Dimmu though.

Luutnakki, Marshel, and BlutKommendant teamed up to form The Crimson Brigade in 2013.  Their debut “Blood Battalion” was released in the UK in November of 2014.  There is a succinct, symphonic, and bombastic air to “Blood Battalion, reminiscent of the extreme metal that was blustering from the UK in the 1990’s.  “Dusk and Her Embrace” era Cradle of Filth instantly comes to mind because of this band’s heavy use of keyboards.  Even though BlutKommandment’s keyboard playing adds an eerie, horror film-like ambiance to Crimson Brigade’s unique sound, it can get a bit excessive at times.  Tracks like “Battle for Crucifix Hill” and “Iron Clad Beasts of Kursk” lack aggression because of the band’s heavy use of the keyboard.

The Crimson Brigade also has a tendency to rely on drum machines and digital effects which creates a mechanized, industrial feel.  Although I never quite grasped black metal’s tendency to digitalize their sound, this sort of experimentation is quite common within the genre.  The Crimson Brigade manages to inject enough groove and aggression into their sound to remain appealing to a more jaded black metal elitist.  In fact, the entire LP, which is quite lengthy, has an underlying, yet obvious groove permeating throughout.  Although the slow dirge driving the sound and feel of the album is hypnotic at times, I would recommend that for future recordings The Crimson Brigade work on refining their sound in the same way they’ve refined their look.  The occasional rock and roll riffs sound awkward at times, whereas tracks like “Dark Angels of Mons” deliver the aggression craved by fans of extreme metal.  Given a few years of practice, this band’s tendency toward experimentalism combined with their stellar attention to quality production could make them the next Meads of Asphodel.

Overall, The Crimson Brigade are a quite listenable band for dabblers in the black metal genre.  Fans of ambiance, and grooving riffs will be pleased with this bands debut.  With their theatrical look and palatable sound, I project we will be hearing more of this band in the future.  For now though, revel in the fiery groove of unsigned hellions, The Crimson Brigade.  Happy listening!  Hails!

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Craven Idol- Towards Eschaton

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The latest album I’ve had on cue is the epic LP entitled “Towards Eschaton”, by England’s black/death/thrash hellions, “Craven Idol”. One discernible characteristic of this outfit is that their hunger resonates loudly throughout the album. It is obvious that Craven Idol is playing the music they love and are not only in it to sell records. They’ve recently been signed to Dark Descent Records, a label that is quickly becoming one of the most important underground labels in death metal, as it’s known to be the home to great bands, such as Imprecation and Gorephilia.

Dark Descent made a smart move in signing this band. Towards Eschaton is a masterpiece that exudes of brilliant musicianship and strong writing. The album opens strong with, “To Summon Mayrion”. The track preludes with an slow and eerie yet methodical intro that quickly breaks into blackened frenzy, amalgamated with high energy old school death/thrash. This band coalesces genres ingeniously, with 80’s death metal-like drumming, thrash-y riffing and soloing, blackened vocals and haunting breaks. Similar to bands like Nifelheim, Aura Noir or even Absu, Craven Idol is a must listen for fans of ugly, blackened and unapologetic genres of metal.

But Towards Eschaton is about more than just raw and ugly riffing. The melodies found on this debut are somewhat reminiscent of early Swedish sounds. Especially on the track “Codex of Seven Dooms”. Their British fervor and love of traditional heavy metal can’t help but seep out on tracks like “Orgies”.

Overall, Craven Idol has managed to captivate me, not only with the stunning artwork that graces the cover of “Towards Eschaton” but also with their beautifully volatile and grotesque sound. Towards Eschaton is a listen worth checking out. So join me in the violent pits of Hades, with Craven Idol. Happy Listening. Hails!